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A shortage of money is the symptom of a bigger problem

A newsletter that I highly recommend is Roy H. Williams’ Monday Morning Memo, an “insightful and provocative series of well-crafted thoughts about the life of business and the business of life.”

In today’s issue, he links to posting on his blog with the eye-raising title “Money and Jews

Why is it that while this cultural group comprises only 1.7% of the U.S. population, they account for more 24% of the “mega-donors” (people who give more than $10 million dollars in a single year to social and cultural projects)?

On the other hand, why do Jewish people have a reputation for being stingy or tight-fisted with money?

Roy Williams describes it this way:

Jews hesitate to hand over cash because they’re taught from a young age that a shortage of money is merely the symptom of a bigger problem. “To give money and walk away is the easy way out. If you really care, you will do what is necessary to make sure this person never again has a shortage.”

Looking back, I saw this in my first business, a technology consulting practice. When starting up my venture, I was trained (through the “Start Your Own Business” course I took), that the main problem with starting a business is finding the capital.

I sweated through writing a business plan which I then presented to my banker, and was surprised at how easy it was to actually receive the money. I promptly proceeded to “burn through” this found money without generating any cash flow, because I did not know how to really be in business. It was only later I realized that they did not lend me over $75K based on my business plan, but rather on the basis of my excellent credit… (those days are now long gone!) The bank basically “gave me money and walked away”. I eventually had to repay the loan, which was a very painful process.

In a previous post I ranted about the ineffectiveness of subsidies and government grants. Almost every solopreneur or entrepreneur I meet has a cash flow issue. They are looking to solve it by having someone give money to them, and in Québec that someone is more often than not the government. They want someone to give them the money, no strings attached. But even with “easy money”, this access to cash does not make a business project more successful. (How many businesses that receive subsidies become profitable?)

What I learned is that it’s not how much you get, but rather how much you can generate and keep… to reinvest and generate more. Money is generated when I make offers that provide people with genuine results, and when I take responsibility for moving my project forward. This means mastering the art and science of relationship selling – influencing the actions of another person so that they themselves willingly take action on what I suggest to them, towards a win-win result.

So to cure a money shortage, I have to go out and sell something that makes a meaningful difference to my customers. Mastering this skill ensures that I will never again be short of money.

Finding money is not the problem. The real question is… what will you do to never have money troubles in the future?

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